Student joins Yale leaders program

Kanav Bhama

The dream of studying at one of the most illustrious universities in the world has come true for one Year 11 student from Girraween High School.

Kanav Bhama was one of only 70 high school leaders worldwide accepted into Yale University's Global Leaders Development Program this year.

He demonstrated strong academic results and excellence in leadership and community involvement to be selected for the program, a part of the university's Ivy Scholars Program.

He heard about the program while researching courses in international relations and was encouraged to apply by a friend already studying at Yale.

Extraordinarily capable individuals

It called for extraordinarily capable individuals wanting to serve at the very highest levels of government, business, public service or education.

"Taking part in the program was by far the most insightful, challenging and enjoyable experience of my life," said Kanav.

He gained a deeper understanding of global challenges which would help him throughout Year 12 and in pursuing tertiary studies and a career.

"The [programs] were comparable to an honours undergraduate degree, so the studies were quite rigorous. Every day, we had classes from 9am to 10pm and almost every night we were given an assignment to complete by the next day."

Kanav took courses in environmental ethics, 21st century entrepreneurship, international relations, international economics, climate change strategy, effective leadership, networking and negotiation. 

Negotiation simulation a highlight

The highlight of the program for Kanav was the negotiation simulation.

"We had to establish delegations of diplomats to negotiate important issues and reach concessions," Kanav said.

"There were six countries: North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China, the US and Russia. The national issues for each country were based on current events and possible future events.

"As a Japanese diplomat, my delegation was responsible for raising important issues such as the leak of nuclear radiation from Fukushima as a result of the tsunami and the dire state of the Japanese economy. We negotiated agreements with other countries to secure assistance in Japan.

"Conflicting interests were common which showed us how difficult and delicate international relations can be."

A role model for all students

Julie Kennedy, principal of Girraween High School, said Kanav was a role model for all the students and the school was very proud of him.

"He is a very friendly and modest student. Acceptance into this program reflects his strong sense of social justice and wanting to make a difference."

Kanav said he was interested in becoming an investment banker so was inspired by Yale graduate Harold Stanley, who established the Morgan Stanley investment bank.

"However, I think I drew more inspiration from one of the professors who taught me, Dr Minh Luong," Kanav said.

"He started working as a car dealer, then became an investment banker, government official and is now a Yale professor dedicated to helping students like me understand global issues and develop strategies to resolve them."

Photo:supplied by Kanav Bhama.

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